The national skills shortage gap is growing but the ACT government remains seemingly unphased, restricting tenders for a new primary school build based on gender.
The government announced on Tuesday the ACT's first female lead management team to build Strathnairn's primary school - despite many local construction companies being unable to find skilled workers.
Aiming to quadruple female participation in the trades sector in the next couple of years, Minister for Women and Education Yvette Berry said the low female presence was unacceptable.
The commitment to an all-female lead management team, as well as requiring every contractor to have female employees for the project, forms a part of the government's Women's Action Plan ensuring they provide opportunities for more women and girls to engage in construction.
"We've got every opportunity to be selective on gender right now," Ms Berry said.
"This is a push to make sure the construction industry starts really actively looking for female workers within their trades and within their management teams. I'm confident that we will get significant interest in this work and that the construction companies that do apply will be able to meet the requirements that we've placed on this project."
CFMEU ACT assistant secretary Michael Hiscox said the skills shortage had affected jobs from the very start.
"There's a shortage of architects, surveyors and management roles right through to the actual construction itself."
Mr Hiscox warned failing to address the skill shortages now would only cause regret later.
"It's not feasible to do anything else, if we're only recruiting from 50 per cent of the population we're just going to have worse skill shortages."
Although only 2.6 per cent of females worked in the construction industry, according to the last ACT census in 2016, the National Association of Women in Construction co-president Katherine Harris said the government's commitment was absolutely achievable.
"As a woman in construction myself for over 20 years, the women are there and they are leaders in construction," Ms Harris said.
"We just need to bring them to the forefront and we need more companies to seek them out, support them and promote them in their business."
Equal pay and opportunities for women will also be a focus of the National Skills Summit planned to take place in September.
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